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Jun 25, 2017 at 4:00 pm

Documentary Fundamentals: Releasing

With Sara Jordenö, Gabriel Sedgwick, Merrill Strerritt, Dan Schoenbrun, Dan Nuxoll, & Emilie Spiegel

This session of DOCUMENTARY FUNDAMENTALS is about releasing your next documentary. How can you find and build audiences for your film?  How do you know if your film is best suited for theatrical, broadcast, or both?  How do digital platforms affect “traditional” models of distribution and release? How can you best utilize your film festival campaign?  What does a sales agent do and how do I get one? Another can’t-miss session!


Sara Jordenö is a NYC-based documentary filmmaker, visual artist, researcher and educator. Jordenö’s longitudinal projects often engage with communities who reside in the margins, focusing on their strategies of survival. In the process of making these works, Sara has collaborated with (and at times shared authorship with) sociologists, activists, community organizers and members of the communities that she investigates. Her feature documentary KIKI, which premiered in the US documentary competition at the Sundance Film Festival in 2016, has since been shown in over 60 festivals on five continents. KIKI, which was co-written with community leader Twiggy Pucci Garcon and produced by Story and Hard Working Movies, was awarded the Teddy Award for Best Documentary Film at the Berlin International Film Festival, the Kathleen Bryan Edwards Award for Human Rights at Full Frame Documentary Festival, The German Queerscope Award and Outfest’s Emerging Talent Award, among other awards. KIKI was released theatrically in Sweden in the summer of 2016 by Folkets Bio and the US in the spring of 2017 by Sundance Selects/IFC. For KIKI, Jordenö was nominated for the 2017 Film Independent Spirit Truer Than Fiction Award. In 2016 she was named by Variety and EFP as one of “Ten Women Filmmakers to Watch.”

Gabriel Sedgwick hails from Sweden but lives in New York City, where he has produced several award-winning films that have screened at festivals such as SXSW, New Directors/New Films, Urbanworld, BAM’s New Voices in Black Cinema, and Karlovy Vary, including Lanre Olabisi’s fiction features AUGUST THE FIRST and SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE (both distributed by Film Movement in the US). As Head of Production at Brooklyn-based production company Hard Working Movies, he also co-produced Jeremiah Zagar’s feature-length documentary CAPTIVATED: THE TRIALS OF PAMELA SMART, which premiered in competition at Sundance 2014 and was broadcast on HBO in the US and on television all over the world, and recently line produced Sara Jordenö’s KIKI, which premiered in competition at Sundance 2016, won the Teddy for best feature-length doc at the Berlin International Film Festival 2016, and is distributed in the U.S. by IFC Films. He most recently produced Penny Lane’s short documentary JUST ADD WATER for CNN Films, and is currently in production on a bunch of wacky things. He is a National Board of Review fellow, a Berlin Film Festival Talents alumni, and when not making movies, can be heard emitting falsetto noises in the Brooklyn-based musical constellation Odd Rumblings.


Merrill Sterritt is Head of Audience Strategies and Partnerships at Cinereach. Merrill develops and oversees audience strategies for Cinereach grantees and productions, as well as partnerships for the organization. Prior to joining Cinereach, Merrill co-founded Film Presence in 2010 where she lead theatrical outreach campaigns for over 50 independent films. Merrill began working in film as an editor, before managing the Production Assistance Program at Women Make Movies. Merrill is on the IFP Advisory Board.

Dan Schoenbrun​ is the co-­founder of The Eyeslicer, a new film company dedicated to producing counter-culture films and connecting them directly with audiences. He recently produced and curated collective:unconscious, a collaborative feature in which five of NYC’s most acclaimed filmmakers adapted each other’s dreams for the screen. In 2016, collective:unconscious became the first ever omnibus film to premiere in competition at SXSW, and was praised by Rolling Stone as, “unlike anything you’ve ever seen with your eyes open.” Previously, Dan has worked in the independent film industry for nearly a decade, serving as the Senior Film Outreach Lead at Kickstarter, the Associate Director of Programming at IFP, and the Associate Editor of FILMMAKER Magazine. Dan has spoken about filmmaking at dozens of film festivals around the world, including Cannes, the Berlinale, Sundance, SXSW, Hot Docs, NYFF, and TIFF. His own short film work has screened at places like BAMcinemaFest, the Maryland Film Festival, and Cucalorus.

Dan Nuxoll began working with Rooftop Films and became full-time Program Director of Rooftop Films in 2002. Since then he has watched the film submissions rise to over 3,000 submissions a year. The programming for Rooftop Films has received increasing acclaim over the last years, and Dan has curated and organized events across North America and Europe. Dan has expanded Rooftop’s search and acquisition of stunning new venues, helped to expand their event production, rentals and sponsorship divisions, and has managed partnerships with the Acadmemy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Sundance Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, Hot Docs, BAM Cinematek, MoMA, SXSW Film Festival, and dozens of acclaimed cultural institutions. Dan also works as a director, producer, composer and sound designer for films including the wildly entertaining feature documentary Kiss My Snake. He is currently Co-Directing a new documentary feature entitled about a mysterious figure who has been running scandal-plagued film festivals for decades. Dan has served on film juries for SXSW, Slamdance, River Run, Doc NYC, IFFB and the Denver International Film Festival, and has been named to Indiewire’s Influencers list as well as Brooklyn Magazine’s list of The 100 Most Influential People in Brooklyn Culture.


Emilie Spiegel is a film publicist at Cinetic Marketing. She’s been involved in various narrative and documentary campaigns including Academy-Award nominees THE ACT OF KILLING, THE SQUARE, CUTIE & THE BOXER, FIRE AT SEA, and I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO, as well as the Sundance debut and theatrical release of KIKI.

Buy A Series Pass

DOCUMENTARY FUNDAMENTALS! A nuts-and-bolts professional development series designed for the emerging or intermediate documentary filmmaker, Documentary Fundamentals at UnionDocs is six-part program taking place over the course of one weekend. Buy a SERIES PASS ($125) or choose to attend individual sessions ($25/each). This program has been an ongoing series at UnionDocs for many years. It developed from our experience with documentarians who needed a better foundation across the board to navigate production and distribution as an independent filmmaker in today’s landscape.

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2 people are attending Documentary Fundamentals: Releasing

  • Alexis Clements
  • John Marty
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Jun 25, 2017
4:00 pm – 6:00 pm


352 Onderdonk Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385 United States
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